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Heads Up: Rebuilding Aluminum Cylinder Heads

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In our last article (Automotive Rebuilder, July, 1999 issue page 54) we discussed how to check valve stem to guide clearances and the methods used to replace valve guides and seats. Camshaft clearances and techniques used to bring clearances to within specification were also covered. In this article we will cover the final assembly of the head.

The final step in our remanufacturing process is the assembly of the head. Proper assembly is just as important as any other step. The assembly process brings the casting and all of the parts together after all of the inspection, machining and cleaning has been finished.

All of the parts need to be ready when you begin the assembly. The parts required to assemble a cylinder head are: valves; keepers; retainers; springs; rockers; rocker shafts; cam(s); lifters; shims; seals; studs; and freeze plugs. The following are tips that we recommend to prepare each of the aforementioned components for final assembly.

Valves are first glass beaded to remove carbon and corrosion. Next, the valve stem is checked for wear and/or damage. The keeper groove and butt of the stem are also inspected for wear. Next, the valve is reground to the corrected angle; most valves are 45

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